White Privilege

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White Privilege

  1. 1. WHITE PRIVILEGE We ARE The Boy in the Bubble
  2. 2. What is “White Privilege?”  WhitePrivilege is an invisible package of unearned assets that we can count on cashing in each day.* *Mostlecture material based on the work of Peggy McIntosh, 1988
  3. 3. Some Painful Realizations about How We Whites are Conditioned…  We are carefully taught NOT to recognize white privilege…we are not “bad people” because we don‟t automatically recognize that we are as protected as the Boy in the Bubble!
  4. 4. Whites are taught to think of their lives as…  Morallyneutral  Normative  Average  Ideal:  When we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow “them” to be more like “us”….and that‟s a good thing….AIN‟T IT???!!!
  5. 5. And here are some of the conditions of white privilege:  Be in company of people of my race most of the time,  Can avoid spending time with people I‟ve been trained to mistrust or who mistrust me and my kind,  If I move, I can be pretty sure of getting a house in an area where I want to live,
  6. 6. And some more… I can be sure that my neighbors will be at least civil, if not friendly, to me,  I can go shopping alone without fear of being followed by store clerks or harassed by store detectives,  I can turn on the TV or read the paper and see people of my race being widely and positively represented,
  7. 7. And some more…  When I‟m told about our national heritage, I am shown that people of MY color made this country what it is today,  I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race,  I can easily find a publisher for my white-written works,
  8. 8. And some more… I am fairly sure of having my voice heard in a group where I‟m the only member of my race,  I can be casual about whether or not to listen to someone else‟s voice in a group in which that person is the only member of his or her race,
  9. 9. And some more… I can go into a book store and find the writing of my race represented,  I can go into a supermarket and find the staple foods that fit with my cultural tradition,  I can go to a hairdresser‟s and find someone who knows how to handle my type of hair,
  10. 10. And some more…  Whether I use checks or credit cards, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance that I am financially reliable,  I can be sure that my worries about how my kids are treated by teachers have nothing to do with their race or racism,
  11. 11. And some more… I don‟t have to teach my kids about systematic racism to make them aware for their own protection,  My kids don‟t have to answer questions about why I live with my partner,  I can travel or be seen with my partner (of the same race) and not have to face stares or overt harassment,
  12. 12. And some more… I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color,  I can swear, dress in secondhand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race,
  13. 13. And some more… I can speak in public as an individual without putting my entire race on trial or being considered a representative for my entire race,  I can do well in a challenging situation without being called “a credit to my race,”
  14. 14. And some more… I can ignore the languages and cultures of other people of the world and my country, without feeling the same sense of oblivion, invisibility, or “ignorability” for my language and culture,  I can criticize the government without being considered a cultural outsider,
  15. 15. And some more…  I can be reasonably sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be talking to a member of my own race,  If a traffic cop pulls me over or the IRS audits me, I can be assured that it has nothing to do with my race,  I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race,
  16. 16. And some more… I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co- workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race,  If I‟m having a bad day, I don‟t need to ask myself if the negative stuff has racial overtones,
  17. 17. And some more… I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race,  I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race won‟t work against me,  I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race,
  18. 18. And some more… I can rest assured that there are not ugly terms used to describe my race,  I can be assured that no sports team will trivialize my race by using a grotesque caricature as their mascot,  I can choose blemish cover and bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin color,
  19. 19. And finally…  If I‟m good at a sport, no one will say “those white people are just built to run,”  If I‟m a good dancer, no one will say “all those white people have rhythm,”  If I‟m seen kissing my boyfriend/ girlfriend in public, no one will say, “those white people are all sex-crazed.”
  20. 20. Here are some signs that we‟re operating from a position of privilege:  We “tolerate” others and feel good about it,  We say we‟re „color blind.” Color blindness is possible only from a position of privilege!
  21. 21. More signs…  We say that we take each person based only on his or her individuality, and that we ignore his or her race…  This stance is not ours to take. Each person must indeed be treated as an individual—some individuals DO want their race to be factored out of the equation— and some are adamantly proud of their race and wish it to be always present in the minds of others! It‟s THEIR choice!
  22. 22. More signs…  If we feel free to say, “Oh, they should just get over it…all that stuff happened 100 years ago…”  If we feel free to say, “This has nothing to do with me…I‟m not responsible for what my ancestors may or may not have done…”
  23. 23. Having described White Privilege, what will I do to lessen or end it?  Examine myself daily in the same way that people of color have to,  Listen carefully to language, and work to eradicate negative racial uses of it,  Be willing to interrupt and explain why certain words or stereotypes are hurtful and false,
  24. 24. More ways to lessen negative effects of white privilege…  Read more, listen more, think more,  Don‟t bog yourself down in guilt… awareness of history is NOT the same as guilt…guilt makes us powerless,  Stand up for the marginalized peoples: When their viewpoint, worldview, or very existence is ignored, speak up!  We are not the best or “the normal ones.” We are One of Many!

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